PASADENA -- Pasadena City College's self-titled "Porn Professor" announced this week he will not offer the class again in the near future after pressures from the college and social media sent him to psychological rehab last week.

Professor Hugo Schwyzer has offered his Humanities 3 class, which he called "Navigating Pornography," twice at PCC, but this spring the class received backlash from the college and the community after media reports of a guest lecture by porn star James Deen that Schwyzer tried to open up to the public.

Schwyzer said the pressure from PCC as well as online hatred he receives daily on social media because of his other writings on gender issues, have led him to the decision to no longer teach the class. That and an extramarital affair led him to take a step back and focus on his personal life, he said.

"I'm exhausted by threats and controversy," Schwyzer said via email Wednesday. "I need a break." Schwyzer has also gained notoriety online and among feminist groups for his past drug addiction and his last act as an addict, when he tried to kill himself and his ex-girlfriend 15 years ago, according to Schwyzer's own writings. During his first few years as a professor at PCC, he also admittedly had sexual relationships with a number of his female students, but the college allowed him to remain as a teacher and asked him to author the college's current policy that bans professor-student relationships.

He said PCC administrators were upset that he chose to talk about his past so publicly and he'd heard rumors on campus that the college was searching for a way to eliminate his porn class, which they also refused to call "Navigating Pornography."


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"There is a very hostile climate at PCC right now, faculty do not get along with administrators, it's the worst I've seen in 20 years," Schwyzer said.

Representatives from PCC did not return calls for comment.

Because of his past, Schwyzer said, he's become quite unpopular, and proving his point, Internet feminists rejoiced on Twitter this week following Schwyzer's blog post on his decision to give in to his critics. Many also criticized Schwyzer's media interviews after the announcement, including one published in New York Magazine on Wednesday.

"If Hugo Schwyzer was the 'feminist ally' he claims to be, he would leave quietly and not spout nonsense like this," tweeted Lauren Rankin, a feminist writer from New Jersey, including a link to the article.

But others, like popular Asian BBW (Big Beautiful Woman) adult performer Kelly Shibari, said the absence of Schwyzer's courage and wisdom will leave a hole at PCC and in feminist discourse. Shibari spoke in Schwyzer's class twice, talking with students about body image and online bullying.

"It's a sad state of affairs that someone who tried to change his life around was bullied into having to retreat into a state of no growth," Shibari said in an email. "As a result, PCC loses a very unique class offering that helps people understand the adult entertainment industry in a way that is not stigmatized. I'm not sure if anyone else can offer that class." Former PCC Student Trustee Hanna Israel, 23, who took "Navigating Pornography" from Schwyzer, said she was "really disappointed" because the class had a lasting impact on her life.

"I'm sad to see that the class won't be offered anymore and that it didn't receive support from our administration because it was a really tasteful and informative and empowering class," Israel said.

Schwyzer, who has written for Jezebel, xoJane and The Atlantic, said he may one day return to writing about feminist issues and also hopes to offer "Navigating Pornography" class, or help another professor teach it, in the future.

"I think the course did a lot of good and I think we have to continue to study pornography," he said. "The fact that I'm stopping for now for my own mental health does not mean that there is not going to be more courses on porn. We are going to see more and more and more of these courses and the fact is whether he's coming to speak to my classroom or not, more and more kids are watching James Deen."

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